Output of non-ferrous metals jumps
China's non-ferrous metal output increased by two-fifths last year, buoyed by strong domestic demand for copper and aluminium, according to an industry organization.
Output of 10 key non-ferrous metals reached 12.05 million tons last year, up 19.07 per cent from 2002, figures from the China Non-ferrous Metal Industry Association show.
The bullish output kept China out in front as the world's biggest non-ferrous metal producer for a second year.
The nation's copper output grew by 12.71 per cent year-on-year to 1.84 million tons in 2003, according to statistics.
And 5.56 million tons of aluminium were produced last year, a jump of 26.85 per cent from a year earlier.
The remaining output comprised lead, zinc, nickel, stannum, mercury, magnesium, sponge titanium and antimony.
Output of the nation's finished copper products shot up by 32.61 per cent year-on-year to 3.30 million tons last year. That of finished aluminium products reached 3.63 million tons, up 33.30 per cent.
Association President Kang Yi said China's mounting demand for non-ferrous metals was primarily behind the robust growth in the sector.
The industry's sales and profits reached record highs last year, boosted by the bumper non-ferrous metal output.
Total sales of non-ferrous metal manufacturers in China increased by 30.96 per cent year-on-year to 360.34 billion yuan (US$43.51 billion) last year, according to the association.
The industry's profits totalled 15.09 billion yuan (US$1.82 billion) last year, up 84.23 per cent from 2002.
State-owned non-ferrous metal manufacturers reported 8.16 billion yuan (US$985.51 million) in profits last year, surging 132.74 per cent from a year earlier.
"Other factors contributing to the jump in the industry's profits include the improvement of manufacturers' corporate governance and listings, and price hikes in non-ferrous metal prices," said Wang Huajun, an analyst at the association.
China also imported a large volume of non-ferrous metals, finished products and raw materials to meet domestic demand last year.
The value of non-ferrous metal imports totalled US$15.22 billion in 2003, an increase of 38.90 per cent from 2002.
The value of imported copper, finished products and copper concentrate rose by 29.50 per cent year-on-year to US$8.22 billion last year.